Algerian police have broken up an Islamic State militant cell led by a former al Qaeda commander convicted in France more than a decade ago for planning an attempted bombing in Strasbourg, a security source said on Wednesday.
Mohamed Yacine Aknouche, 43, was once a Europe-based affiliate of Algeria’s Islamic Armed Group (GIA), and was sentenced in absentia by a French court in 2004 to eight years prison, said the source, who asked not to be named.
The source told Reuters that Algerian forces captured Aknouche this week near Tipaza, a coastal city 50 km west of the capital Algiers where officials charge he had been planning to carry out attacks on security forces. It was not clear when he had returned to Algeria.
Militant attacks and bombings are rarer in Algeria since the North African country ended its decades-long 1990s war with armed Islamists in which 200,000 people died.